Friday, March 6, 2009

Lucia New Age Catholics

As some readers here know, I reverted back to the Catholic faith of my childhood a couple of years ago. Therefore, all of the shenanigans during the past 20 years or so that have been going on in Catholic churches in NZ have been somewhat of a huge surprise to me. The worst that I could really remember was the horrendous folk music that we sang, such as Kumaya and The Rivers of Babylon by Boney M, back in the days were I had no idea. Now, it's far worse.

When I first came back, I was asked to attend a woman's retreat where the Enneagram was to be taught to the participants by a pair of nuns. Sounded a bit off, to me, and yes, upon researching it, I found the Enneagram is a form of New Age spiritualism that many Catholics have taken on. Having dabbled quite a bit myself in the New Age prior to coming back to the Faith, I wondered to myself: Why be Catholic if you are gong to play around with the New Age? Why not just be honest with yourself and leave the Catholic Church? Because anyone who plays around with the Enneagram has already mostly left anyway. Just the shell, the label of "Catholic" remains.

But when the shell of "Catholic" infests the local official Catholic Diocesean paper, Welcom, published by the Wellington and Palmerston North Dioceses, and theoretically overseen by the region's two bishops (Dew and Cullinane), I have to wonder just how far up does the rot go.

Welcom is publicising another form of New Age spiritualism taken on by quasi-Catholics called "centering prayer" (CP). Even the name sends the hair on the back of my neck straight up, and the posture of the woman in the photo says it all. She's sitting with her legs crossed yoga style on a chair with arms. Not a comfortable position for such a chair and one that would require a bit of effort to get into and maintain. It would have been better for her to sit on the floor where she would most likely have been more comfortable. So the posture itself is making a statement, a physical and spiritual statement of "I'm not teaching anything Catholic, but let's pretend it's Catholic."

At least that is what I thought when I looked at the picture but, in fact the self-styled "Hermit" isn't even Catholic herself; she's an Episcopalian "Priest". So, the implication is that CP is Catholic and the woman herself is Catholic, but it isn't until a person investigates further that they discover that the impression and the reality are totally removed. Maybe that is why the talks she is giving aren't being hosted in Catholic venues. One small mercy, I suppose, that might give a potential participant pause before plunging in to learn CP.

So, what is wrong exactly with "centering prayer" (CP)? In short, CP seeks to turn the focus of the person from moving towards God to turning inwards towards the self and moving away from God under the guise of getting closer to God. Or the longer explanation:
CP devotees claim it to be a revival of ancient meditative practice, referring to it as a new version of the practice of ejaculatory mental prayer wherein contemplatives practiced the presence of God by repeating simple sacred words or sentences such as "Jesus, I love you".

Far from simple or sacred, CP is a codified technique which constructs a psychological and spiritual state of awareness designed to unleash unconscious forces and which typically encourages a narcissistic turning-inward and pre-occupation with self awareness, consciousness-raising and the achieving of preternatural experiences.
Totally New Age focused and not Catholic at all. I'm amazed that the article got into Welcom at all.

Related Links: Centering Prayer ~ Our Lady's Warriors

4 comment(s):

Lou Taylor said...

This is a great example of "interfaith'. You can see why Labour has siezed upon this politically correct bandwagon as a means of weakening traditional religions.

Anonymous said...

Good call Lucyna.

This woman's ideas are bad news.

But I'm not surprised this got into Welcom.

Anythings possible up there.

macdoctor said...

"Centered prayer" is just standard transcendental meditation with a "Christian" saying used as a mantra. It bears as much resemblance to true Christian meditation as a candle does to the sun.

biotechris said...

In relation to the ennegram, NCR has just published an essay where the writer uses the ennegram! On the front page of their website!

If anyone needs further proof that NCR can't claim to be Catholic, here it is.

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